Strike!

Last evening I made the fatal mistake of telling my son that, “tomorrow we’re sleeping in.” This turned out to be taken as a reverse challenge, so I have been awake since five. Eventually my puku instructed me to get up and get organised around six o’clock. Breakfast and a bit of a tidy up later and it was time to head into Timaru for our protest.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but some highlights include:

  1. My son leading the chant and, on several occasions, getting it going again after it had petered out.
  2. The hundreds who turned out to the rally.
  3. The number of non-teachers (parents, school support staff, principals, and others) who tuned out with us in solidarity.
  4. The overwhelming support from the motorists who drove past the march, or who we held up at the lights while our group continued to cross long after the green man had packed his bags and headed off.

Although there was wonderful support from the people of Timaru as we headed down the main road to the local MP’s office, there was a moment that highlighted the battle we are having with a certain sector of society. While we stood together on our street corner chanting an elderly gentleman turned the corner and gave us the fingers.

Apart from delivering his withering hand gesture straight out of 1973, this silver-haired chap is a prime example if the type person we really need to convince. I have no doubt he believes we are complete slackers skiving on a street corner corrupting our children into the union. He’ll argue teachers don’t deserve any more money because they are already very well remunerated and they get 12 weeks holiday a year.

I’m not going to dismantle this aged villain here other than to wonder whether he takes his full pension or whether, out of principle, he has forgone it because he doesn’t need the money…

Today I marched for the profession. We are in crisis because young people don’t want to join our profession or the manage to make it through their degree or diploma only to give it away after a few years. For too long we have been denegrated by this sector of society (One wonders whether the denegration would have happened to a profession where the majority of workers were men. Just saying…).

It will be interesting to see what the government come back to us with. I don’t care about the money. I just want more time to teach and be a dad.

I’ll leave the last word to my son: “I thought this was going to be a bit boring, but it was heaps of fun!”

Mahi pai e tama. Kua tae te wā.

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